Last post I admitted that I might have been wrong. I admitted that there might be something to cloud computing. But at the same time I see a couple of ‘clouds’ on the horizon.
First, is what might be an emotional point; the outsourcing of technical knowledge, the ‘brain drain’, the erosion of technical knowledge at the company level.
Cloud computing is about contracting out your technical environment. It is about letting someone else worry about all that stuff and just concentrating on what is important to you. And I don’t know if I like that.
The theory is that there will be cost savings if you don’t need a guru or two at every company, just a handful of them at the cloud provider. I’m just not sure that contacting out the knowledge positions is a good idea, especially if there aren’t any savings (see next point).
I know this position might label me as old fashioned, not willing to trust my vendor who I have chosen. But I guess when push comes to shove, I don’t trust anyone, especially a vendor that I have chosen, particularly with what will arguably be the life blood of my company.
Second, and speaking of cost, I don’t know if I believe that it will be cheaper.
Oh, I know, cloud computing is supposed to be a source of cost savings, possibly huge cost savings. Trouble is, I am not sure that in the long run the cloud will really be any cheaper than what we have now. The reason for that is easy – Shirey’s Law – Costs never decrease, they just change category and get harder to compare. If there is one thing that America is built on it is that there is nothing you can invent that I can’t find a way to make money off of, even if it seems free when you start.
It just seems to me that if you follow the reasoning of cloud computing, then purchased ERP systems should be practically free. Anyone run into that lately?
I agree that theory suggests lower costs and I can’t prove what I am saying, but past experience makes it very hard for me to believe that we are about to free up a boat load of cash.
And the final concern I have is – what if through some tragic error you pick the wrong partner.
Suppose you find that the support you get is not exactly what you expected, or that service levels in certain geographic areas are not acceptable. How hard will it be to switch over to another vendor? I just have a feeling that doing that will not be a totally transparent activity.
And if you have gotten rid of your technical staff, it might be almost impossible to get off the cloud and return to your original configuration.
So it could be possible that once you go onto the cloud it might be very difficult to change direction and either return to earth or else find another provider.
Now obviously, the above are worst case scenarios. And I am not even close to saying ‘don’t cloud’. But it’s not all savings and caviar either. In some ways, it’s a siren song. Just switch to the cloud and no more 2 AM calls from some user in Fuji.
But the truth is more complicated that that. There are many factors to consider and what is right for one organization may be poison for another. So take a good look at the cloud – but do it with your eyes open and a good skeptical frame of mind.